“Please, Sylvia, give me a moment to think,” Jonas said.
“A moment?” Her voice rose in a crescendo. “We’ve been sitting here for hours. We need to decide what to do.”
Jonas knew this was true. He had spent the morning immobilized by the Seattle weather, which he used to explain his mood. It was easier to blame the weather than face the storm that threatened to erupt inside the room.
Sylvia had that anxious look that inevitably led to trouble. She was composed, but his worst fear was that she would become hysterical again. He had to take control of the situation.
“A moment…,” he repeated, hoping they could hold out a little while longer. He didn’t dare look at his wife’s face. “What we need is just a little more time.”
“What we need, other than a miracle, is for you to realize we must get help.”
Jonas reached for her hand, which she rejected, pushing it away and folding her arms across her chest. She withdrew to the end of the couch.
Sylvia’s worries warped into misgivings. She placed her hand gently on the swollen belly and gasped at a small movement.
“We need the doctor now,” she said.
“But this happens all the time, doesn’t it?” The drowning feeling was returning. The need to stay firm left him exhausted.
“Not like this, it shouldn’t take so long.”
“Wasn’t this what we expected? It was all explained.” He stood and began pacing.
“This is different.” She quelled at his seeming indifference to the situation. She began to have doubts that she could count on his help.
A small sob brought Jonas to action.
“Oh, all right, I’ll bring the car around and you gather up everything and meet me at the door.”
His callous attitude lent confirmation to the fact that she was married to the most uncaring of men.
“Can’t you get the car first and then come back to help me?”
“Women,” he said under his breath, annoyed she was making this into a huge problem.
He went about collecting the necessary bags and blankets, while she sat with that still worried expression. He avoided looking at her as she began to quietly weep.
He could ignore outbursts of anger, but as usual he had no defenses against those tears. Guilt surged through him. He rushed to her, gathering her up in a protective embrace. Her hand still rested on the protrusion and his hand tentatively joined hers. She did not recoil at his touch, but leaned against him. For a brief moment, he was content, though he was not yet ready for this small miracle that would disrupt his life. It had already caused a few sleepless nights.
A sudden cry of pain jolted him to action. “I’ll get the car,” he said, but knew it was too late for he heard another small cry and the mother, in one glorious push, expelled a small grey ball of wet fur. Transfixed, he watched as two more followed.
Two heads bowed over the tableau, while Chloe, the Siamese, seemingly pleased with her accomplishment, accepted the role of motherhood with quiet dignity.
Sylvia heaved a happy sigh, while Jonas struggled against the emotion that stole hostage his heart.